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SOCIETY, BUSINESS and ECONOMY => SOCIETY => RELIGION => Topic started by: Prince on September 13, 2008, 04:32:37 PM

Title: POPE CELEBRATES HUGE PARIS MASS
Post by: Prince on September 13, 2008, 04:32:37 PM
Thousands gather to hear the Pope's Paris mass

Around 250,000 worshippers have turned out to hear Pope Benedict XVI celebrate an open-air mass in Paris.

Many people spent the night at the Invalides complex, south of the river Seine in the French capital, waiting to hear him speak.

It is the pontiff's first visit to France since his election in 2005.

Later, the Pope will fly to the pilgrimage site of Lourdes, where the faithful believe the Virgin Mary appeared to a young girl 150 years ago.

France is a Roman Catholic country, but Sunday Mass attendance is now below 10% and strict laws separate church and state.

'Pagan' idols

The Pope told the crowds he was delighted to be in their country, before going on to condemn what he described as a modern-day plague in the passion for power, possessions and money.

"Has not our modern world created its own idols?" he said in his address.

"Has it not imitated, perhaps inadvertently, the pagans of antiquity, by diverting man from his true end, from the joy of living eternally with God," he asked.

(http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/45013000/jpg/_45013861_-129.jpg)
The German-born pope has received a warm welcome

He then added: "Have not money, the thirst for possessions, for power and even for knowledge, diverted man from his true destiny?"

Arriving in Paris on Friday, the Pope was met by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whom he praised for promoting the role of religion in society.

France staunchly upholds a 1905 law that enshrines the separation of Church and state, but Mr Sarkozy has supported efforts to ease the country's strict secularism law.

The opposition So...ts are furious, saying that it is the first time in French history that a pope and a president have shared common politics.

Nonetheless, the German-born pontiff has received a warm welcome, says the BBC's Emma Jane Kirby in Paris.

Before his visit, a French newspaper poll showed that more than half of those questioned had a positive view of Benedict XVI.